By Ashley Agren
On September 22, 2015, a decision that every vaper in the Santa Clarita Valley has feared was made. The Santa Clarita City Council approved the regulation of electronic cigarettes, or E-cigs and vaporizers. This entails that E-cigs and vaporizers are banned from being used in places of employment, restaurants and bars, city facilities, city vehicles, public places and city parks. However, E-cigs can be used in vape shops and restaurants or bars where it is allowed by state law. This decision has classified vaping as a form of smoking, or maybe even worse.
As a person who vapes regularly and works in a vape shop, I can tell you that this decision enrages the Santa Clarita Valley vape community.
But then again, we knew this was coming.
A person had remarked to me, “Oh, you’re one of those people,” upon finding out that I vape. Pushing aside the feeling that I should be insulted, I asked him what he meant. He went on to explain that people who vape blow clouds in movie theaters, they vape on buses and public transportation, and have no consideration for other people. I assured him that this wasn’t how every vaper acted, but he wasn’t very convinced.
If this is the stereotype that has encompassed what vapers are, then it’s no wonder why so many people in our community are against vaping. At face value, it seems that vaping should be accepted because of its positive effect of helping a person quit smoking, but vaping has become so much more than that—it has become a culture. And a few of those that participate in the culture have contributed to the making and approval of this regulation.
Here are general unspoken rules that every vaper should be aware of:
Do not vape where you cannot smoke.
If the sign says “No Smoking”, consider it as “No Vaping”. If there is a smoking area, use it. If you can’t smoke inside a restaurant, don’t think that vaping will be acceptable instead.
Be courteous to those who don’t vape.
People don’t want vapor blown into their face just as much as they don’t want cigarette smoke, even if your cloud does smells like rainbow sherbet.
Ask for permission.
If you want to vape in someone’s house or car, ask them first. If you’re going to vape next to people where smoking is allowed, still ask them. Remember: vaping is your habit, not theirs. Asking shows respect, and people will appreciate that. More often than not, they won’t mind you vaping by them because you asked.
Educate yourself and research things about vaping.
There will come a time when you will have to discuss vaping with others. Whether it be clarifying misinterpreted facts or debunking misconceptions about vaping, it is good to be well informed about the subject to stop the spread of misinformation.
In defense of vaping, the SCV Council’s approval of the regulation of vaping will not help fix a problem that has rooted itself deeper than that. There is a drug problem in this city, but the focus is being placed in the wrong direction. Consider this: Why are there so many people getting their hands on drugs, even ones that, as our younger selves, we swore never to touch? As a person who grew up in Santa Clarita, I know that the kids who grow up in the suburbia of SCV are bored and they have more curiosity from being sheltered.
Regulating vaping shouldn’t be the main focus when trying to better our community. There are more important and urgent problems out there that we should be addressing instead.
And, as a last note to vapers: We need to do our part by being more courteous and informing. Hopefully, we will be able to change the tainted and incorrect stereotype that has now become associated with vapers and vaping.